Crackdown on benami transactions and illegal custodianship of gold would follow demonitisation

Issue price of sovereign gold bonds fixed at Rs. 2,890.

New Delhi, November 15: The people of India are still in the shock of the sudden move by the Narendra Modi government. After demonetisation, the Government’s next crackdown move may be on benami transactions and illegal custodianship of gold.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refused to roll back the demonetisation move. And he promised to take more stern measures in the coming days. His real intention is to end conversion of black money into gold.

Narendra Modi said in Goa recently that the next agenda in his war on black money and corruption would be a crackdown on benami properties.

According to Prime Minister on Sunday received a standing ovation from audience in Goa and Karnataka while he gave a clear justification on the government’s demonetisation efforts. The move is being severely criticised for mismanagement.

Earlier at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a greenfield airport at the Mopa plateau in Goa, the PM said, “This (demonetisation) isn’t the end. This isn’t a full stop, I declare.”

He said demonetisation was a “secret operation” by his government that took 10 months to plan by a “small and trusted group” of people.

In over an hour long speech where Modi was overcome by emotion more than once, Modi said bureaucrats in Delhi have benami flats in Goa. He said his government has passed a law that has enabled it to crackdown on such properties.

Parliament passed the Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016, in the Monsoon Session earlier this year. The amended law prescribes seven-year rigorous imprisonment for those dealing in black money in the real estate sector and also confiscation of benami properties.

The PM, digressing a little from the issue of black money, also indicated that a war wasn’t a probability.

The PM said his crackdown on black money would lead to housing for the poor, education of their children and cheaper medicines for the elderly. He said India’s demographic dividend, where 65 per cent of the population, or over 800 million people, were below 35 years of age and needed opportunities.

Meanwhile, the top government sources said that Modi government’s crackdown on benami property will be launched early next year while a massive scheme to empower rural poor facing distress was on the drawing board.

The mega rural package – the details of which are not yet clear – may be announced at an appropriate time to cheer the electorate before the 2019 General Elections.

The Modi government is also likely to give a big push to the infrastructure sector which it hopes will put the economy back on the fast track.